Lions must win to keep play­off hopes alive

Record Observer - - Sports -

While there are a cou­ple of big games tak­ing place at venues in the North Bay­side this week, I’ll prob­a­bly be in Sal­is­bur y.

The week starts a day early thanks to the state teach­ers’ con­ven­tion (no one in a po­si­tion of author­ity seems to know how to sched­ule this when school isn’t in ses­sion, but hey, it’s not like there are three con­sec­u­tive months a year when the kids are home...), so Thurs­day shows us the first of a big pair of games.

Queen Anne’s County High, now 5-2 af­ter a three­touch­down win over James M. Ben­nett, vis­its Wi­comico High, a team which might have got­ten its first qual­ity vic­tor y in a cou­ple of years, by beat­ing Cam­bridgeSouth Dorch­ester last week.

Wi-Hi, at 4-3, has al­ready sur­passed last year’s win to­tal, and is look­ing to make an­other state­ment on its home field Thurs­day at 6:30 p.m. While Wi-Hi still has a math­e­mat­i­cal chance at mak­ing the play­offs, it ab­so­lutely won’t hap­pen if the team loses this one. The same might be ar­gued for the Lions. While they’re a game ahead of Wi-Hi, the field above the two teams is stacked with squads boast­ing bet­ter records, but more im­por­tantly, a sig­nif­i­cant lead in play­off points. When you beat a team, you get from 5-8 points based on the size of the school, and one bonus point per win that team ac­cu­mu­lates all year. So if you beat a Class 1A with no wins, you get 5 points. A Class 4A with 8 wins is worth 16; this strength-of-sched­ule as­pect is also the first tier of the tiebreak­ing process if two teams be­come tied in over­all points.

So, los­ing means you only get the bonus points from teams you’ve al­ready beaten, and if they’re not win­ning, you’re stuck while ev­ery­one else might pass you by.

Thus, the Lions, about 10 points off the pace for the fourth and fi­nal play­off spot in the Class 2A East re­gion, can­not af­ford to drop Fri­day’s game.

Wi-Hi, twice as far be­hind, must win out and get sig­nif­i­cant help, in two forms: wins by teams it’s al­ready van­quished, and losses by the ones above it in the stand­ings.

The very next night, a top seed in the de­vel­op­ing 2A East play­off pic­ture is at risk; un­beaten North Caro­line looks to win its 26th reg­u­lar-sea­son game in 28 tries since the start of the 2015 cam­paign, against Ben­nett, still smart­ing from a three-touch­down loss in Centreville last week.

Can any­one stop the Bull­dogs? Hav­ing outscored op­po­nents 341-28 (that comes to al­most 49-4 ev­ery Fri­day night), North Caro­line is on

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